In this essay what will be discussed is the leadership skills that were present in Nelson Mandela can be used to understand and analyze how he was able to run his country. There are character traits and approaches to persuading people to change and the way he viewed the world. Ultimately this added up to achieve a set goal. I will use the material presented from the video and historical background of Nelson Mandela to look closely at what made him successful and also at his weaknesses.
Watching the video of Nelson Mandela, one of the most interesting points is a simple and uninterrupted life that Mandela lived. From a family of loyalty, his world was fenced in by traditional expectations and life. When Mandela ran away from home to Johannesburg, he landed in the hands of a man that would forever change his life.
Walter Sisulu trained and exposed Mandela to law and his trip to Johannesburg opened a new world. Mandela had never experienced the segregation that was happening in the towns that awakened a spirit in Mandela that led him to fight for freedom and an end to Apartheid. There was no reason for Mandela to concern himself with what was going on. He could have just walked away and returned home to the life that was already planned out for him.
Mandela was persistent and driven. Once his mind was made up to achieve a goal, there was no turning back. No matter what the challenge was, Mandela always conquered and strived to do better. Emerging from different situations and circumstances, one of the many qualities that that made Mandela standout in his generation is the courage to step into new challenges when everybody else followed what was normal.
The rules that were imposed on the black people by the white supremacists like restricting black people from buying land outside special reserve was extreme and unfair. When the rumors of uprising and revolt started to spread, colonial supporters of the Dutch began to talk of changing tides in order to warn about the ripple effect that was sweeping Africa (Lowe 2010). Eventually, there was a lot of talk around the world about Apartheid in South Africa with countries overseas taking sides. Though many condemned the action taken by the Dutch, there was very little action to back their words.
The fight for freedom remained in the hands of the people. Visionaries like Mandela and those that were before him to gather the people and defend their land and homes. Change was not going to come to them from outside sources it had to be done from within South Africa. Mandela understood this reality and was determined to see it through. Leaving his family behind and thrown behind bars for twenty-seven years, took indomitable courage and passion.
The task that was ahead of him was daunting and for many would have seen as impossible. Through perseverance and zeal, Mandela moved through towns and streets encouraging others to join the cause. Many were injured and killed because of this uprising. In the face of drastic change, there is always violence because those that want to keep the status quo do not want change. While those who desire a transformation have to act aggressively and clearly to those who refuse to change. Mandela wanted equality for all not just the black people though they were the ones who were oppressed; he wanted a free and peaceful South Africa.
Owing to this intrinsic nature, Mandela was able to mobilize masses and push the agenda of freedom for blacks. Mandela during his time also inspired a whole generation to defend what is right and not to back away simply because no one had ever tried it before.
Mandela also was eloquent and focused on what he wanted to achieve. He was able to mobilize and motivate those around him to move toward a common goal (Williams, 2013). Without fear, he continued to speak out against white domination and freedom for the black and white man even though such an act equals the death penalty.
Mandela also had areas that were lacking. In the public view, he was a hero and stood courageous and ready to take on new challenges while pushing for a more united South Africa (Williams, 2013). Personally, he had problems with identifying who he was. Prison took him through a lot of hardships, and the feeling of loneliness and distance from his family resulted in self- detachment.
Mandela was looking to solve a serious problem. Moved by what he saw when he first arrived in Johannesburg caused him to see a chance to speak up against Apartheid (Williams, 2013). In a way, this was an opening to champion the cause of freedom for the better of all blacks in South Africa.
Walking out of prison was a moment of great triumph for Mandela. He overcame many challenges and refused the situation to break him. Instead, he remained defiant and persevered. A weakness that emerged from this experience is that he was detached from himself. Being away from his loved ones also took a toll on his emotional state. Standing for a just cause got a majority of people to support Mandela. Though this stand did not win favor with all his fellow countrymen.
The government was oppressing the black man and denied basic rights. Why then would Mandela choose to defend the very people who are taking their homes, jobs and land? Anger ran down from groups that did not appreciate the decision that Mandela made. Despite this problem, there was no turning back. For Mandela, only one vision was clear in his mind- a land where black and white people can live freely and peacefully in the same country.
Marks of a good leader are not easy to find. Nelson Mandela was a unique character in that he endured pain and humiliation to emerge a national hero for the sake of the people who were suffering. One of his leadership skills is seen through: -
1.The interactional framework, where he was that he was more than ready to do more than others so that achieving his goal would be within reach (Dennings,2013). Though he was from a royal family, Mandela was touched by what he saw in the cities. Clearly, he was a compassionate man who was dared to step up and begin the quest to end racial inequality. Armed with the interactions with the people, observations and teachings of Walter Sisulu, Mandela went out and mobilized those who would stand by him to end white domination.
2. Mandela was able to recognize that the black people of south Africa were living under the heel of the white man, and it is was not right for human beings to be treated this way. As he started campaigning, large crowds who shared in his vision began to join him. From his exposure as the Youth Leagues national secretary at the ANC, Mandela was able to get involved in assembling people for campaigns against white rule (Dennings,2013). His delegation, communication and influence over groups grew. In the many groups he rallied, it is clear to see that he valued team work and unity among people.
3. Through Mandela’s rise, one can observe that he had referent power. Mandela had a lot of esteem and admiration from the people for that he was doing. Convincing a large group of people to follow you is not easy (Dennings,2013). Once they realize that you are on their side, and your vision is the same, there will be more people willing to follow you and give you support.
4. Within the many groups that Mandela worked with for campaigns, there defiantly is a strong sense of Clan Culture. During a time like apartheid, black people found protection and comfort in one another. Uplifting each other in song and praise gave them courage and zeal to keep fighting for freedom and equality for all. Staying together also ensured survival. A group that is split would not have yielded the same power and action as did the groups that were working with Mandela and Sisulu. The unity that the black people displayed gave them courage and strength to carry on with their campaigns.
The success of Mandela se president also relied on the collective solidarity and unity of the South African people. When a people are together, it becomes easier to achieve a goal as opposed to when they are divided. The level of maturity at which Mandela demonstrated by agreeing to leave the past behind and move forward was commendable.
5. Supportive leadership was clear in Mandela’s leadership style. He was always there to listen to what others had to say and then make a decision. This style carried through to when he was elected president of South Africa. Even as the president, he was willing to give time to listen to the other party and then give a final decision (Dennings,2013). The compassion he had on the people allowed him to take time and practically think about the next course of action.
6. Mandela was a charismatic leader. He was able to move the masses because he deeply understood the challenges, needs and expectations of the people. From the onset, Mandela was able to convince and cause people to act together as one group for a better cause. Seeing the situation from the people point of view won Mandela a lot of popularity and favor. Many supporters viewed him as a father figure and a mentor. Someone who had a vision and focus for a better south Africa.
Using Mandela’s strengths, it is clear to see that through the training that Sisulu gave him up to the point of becoming president, Mandela truly is a leader. His desire to have racial free South Africa and equality among whites and blacks display his overall vision for a better nation. His charisma allowed the movement to end Apartheid to grow strong throughout the country (Dennings,2013). The desire for unity confirms the application of clan cultures and still, even as president the desire for peace and harmony still reflect clan culture.
Picking up a country that had been torn apart by bitter struggles and racism would have to take a great sacrifice on the part of Mandela in order for his dream of a racial free South Africa. With all the endeavors’ made to rouse the masses to march against the injustices culminated in Mandela’s detention and twenty-seven year long jail sentence.(Boahen, 2009). Personally, Mandela decided in his mind and his heart that he was not going to stand by and watch as his fellow stumbled under the rule of the white man. While thousands struggled to find a decent job to survive, resources were being exploited to benefit the white rulers.
Apartheid brought about a drastic change within South Africa that would impact history in a great way. The shadow of Imperialism across Africa was beginning to shed off, and people began to realize that they were also entitled to a good life and freedom within their country (Boahen, 2009). Uprising after uprising spread across the continent and with it blood was shed in an effort to state that everyone is born free and should not have to suffer injustices.
Delegating and organizing rallies while still a young man had prepared him for the biggest role which was being president. The framework of analyzing a good leader reflect that the exposure Mandela got earlier on proved to be beneficial and useful for the role of president.
Mandela went through a lot of hardship to reach the point of the president: this was not the end of the many problems in South Africa. As he began carrying out his presidential duties, there was still the hanging question of where to start the healing process and how to get the country back together. Still the leader of the ANC, Mandela faced an enormous task.
As the years went by, there were complaints that the ANC was not acting swift enough to address the problem of land distribution and the economic instabilities that were being felt. Had I been president at that time, the first thing I would do is to move all those who did not have homes to free land and issue them with title deeds.
The delay in allocating land to those who had nowhere to go did not sit well with the people who had supported Mandela in the fight for freedom and race equality. To some extent, this betrays the feelings that the people had for Mandela as they believed that electing him as president; they would have better lives compared to when there was white rule.
Walking out of prison with his head held high, Mandela proved to the world that you do not have to live in anger and bitterness. Mandela gave himself to his country and selflessly pursued a cause that many would have cowered away from or not been brave enough to see to the end.
Gathering opinions from the people as to what they feel and think about the next steps to help them probably would have created a positive outcome. This way, the citizens will not feel like I am ignoring them because I have not acted on their problem. Knowing what they are experiencing can help me plan a more effective way forward for the country and also maintain the loyalty and support that I had before I became president.
Williams,R. (2013). Why Nelson Mandela Was A Great Leader. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201312/why-nelson-mandela-was-great-leader
Dennings,S. (2013). Nelson Mandela: A Leader Who Listened. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/12/08/nelson-mandela-a-leader-who-listened/
Boahen, A.A. (2009). General History of Africa. London: James Curry Publishers.
Lowe,N. (2010). Mastering Modern World History. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd